You found her on Instagram. The perfect Seattle wedding photographer. Her feed is full of gorgeous weddings at stunning venues with beautiful couples. You reach out, and she responds after six DMs. You talk about her style and your wedding day vision, and she seems to get it. You book her, make payment (she insists on cash), and start counting down the days until your wedding. But then, something strange happens.
Your wedding photographer goes dark. She stops responding to your emails and calls. You can only get in touch with her through social media; even then, she takes days to respond. You start to worry that maybe you made a mistake in hiring her. But it’s too late to back out, so you hope for the best and wait.
On your wedding day, she finally shows up. But she’s not alone. She has a “second shooter” with her, who turns out to be her neighbor’s son. He’s carrying around an old point-and-shoot camera and taking blurry, poorly composed photos. Your heart sinks as you realize you’ve been catfished.
Catfishing is when someone creates a false online identity to take advantage of unsuspecting people. In the case of wedding photography, a catfish will often use stolen photos and pretend to be a professional photographer. They’ll lure in couples with the promise of cheap rates and then either fail to deliver on their promises or deliver subpar work.
You might be surprised to learn that catfishing is actually quite common in the wedding industry. With the rise of social media, it’s easier than ever for someone to create a fake online persona. And because weddings are such a big business, there’s a lot of money to be made by scammers.
If your Pacific Northwest wedding photographer is difficult to get a hold of, that’s a major red flag. A professional photographer should be easy to reach by email or phone. If they’re constantly dodging your calls or taking days to respond to your emails, that’s a sign that something is off.
Beware of any photographer who quotes you at an unusually low rate. While it’s possible to find good deals on wedding photography, anything that seems too good to be true probably is. A professional photographer should be charging enough to cover their costs and make a profit. If they’re quoting you at a rate significantly lower than the going rate, odds are they’re not a real photographer.
A professional Seattle photographer should have a polished website with an online portfolio of their work. If your photographer doesn’t have a website, or their website looks amateurish, that’s another sign that they might not be the real deal.
A professional photographer should be able to show you a portfolio of their most recent work. If they’re unable or unwilling to do so, that’s a sign that something is off. They may be using stolen photos or simply don’t have any recent work to show. Either way, it’s not a good sign.
If you can find reviews of your photographer online, pay attention to what they’re saying. If most of the reviews are negative, that’s a sign that you should avoid working with them.
No serious wedding photographer should have a problem accepting payment by credit card or Paypal. If they insist on being paid in cash, that’s a sign that they might be trying to avoid paying taxes or may not be legitimate.
All professional Seattle wedding photographers should have liability insurance to protect themselves and their clients in case of an accident. If your photographer doesn’t have insurance, that’s a major red flag.
A professional photographer should give you time to read and understand their contract before you sign it. If they’re pressuring you to sign without giving you time to read the fine print, that’s a sign that they’re not legitimate.
Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to avoid being catfished. However, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk. Here are 10 tips.
The first step is to do your research. When you find a wedding photographer you like, take some time to read their reviews and look at their previous work. Make sure they have a solid track record of showing up on time and delivering quality work. Also, be sure to ask around; if someone you know has used them before, see if they would recommend them.
Whenever possible, meet with your photographer in person or on a video chat before booking them. This will give you a chance to see their work firsthand and get a feel for their personality. If they’re not willing to meet with you, that’s a red flag.
View reviews of your photographer online and if they don’t have any ask your photographer for references from previous clients. This is a great way to get an idea of what it’s like to work with them. You can also consult with local wedding vendors. In the wedding industry, word of mouth is everything. So if your photographer is real and has done great work, chances are other people will know about it.
When looking at a photographer’s portfolio, pay attention to the quality and style of their photos. Are they consistent, or do they look like they were taken by different people? A good photographer will have a distinct style that is evident in their work.
A professional photographer should be able to walk you through their process from start to finish. They should be able to tell you how they work with clients, what kind of equipment they use, and how they edit their photos. If they can’t answer these basic questions, that’s a red flag.
Before you sign anything, be sure to read the contract carefully. Ensure you understand what’s included in the services and terms. If there’s anything you’re not comfortable with, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification or make changes.
If possible, pay for your photographer with a credit card. This will give you some protection in case something goes wrong. For example, if they don’t show up on the day of your wedding, you can dispute the charges with your credit card company.
In addition to the contract, make sure you get all important details in writing. This includes your wedding date, the time they will arrive, and what kind of photos you want. This will help ensure that there’s no miscommunication and that everyone is on the same page.
If you’re really worried about being catfished, there are some tools you can use to verify a photographer’s identity. For example, you can do a reverse image search on Google to see if their photos have been stolen from another site.
At the end of the day, you must trust your gut. If something feels off, it probably is. So if you have any doubts about your photographer, it’s best to err on the side of caution and find someone else.
Catfishing is a serious problem in the wedding industry. So if you’re getting married soon, be sure to do your research and choose a Seattle wedding photographer you can trust. By following these tips, you can avoid being catfished and ensure that your wedding photos are everything you’ve ever dreamed they would be.
WOW… I do not know where to start! I did not know Lessie before our photoshoot but I am so glad to have met her and chosen her to capture our engagement pictures! She was so easy to communicate with and so so helpful from start to finish. I am absolutely obsessed with the photos she captured of my fiancé and I! Not only do the photos look beyond amazing but our experience with her throughout the photoshoot was out of this world! She is extremely talented and was amazing at capturing natural and real moments!
- AMANDA + THOMAS
Lessie is the most compassionate, easy to communicate with , professional photographer I have ever had the joy of working with. Lessie has a skill set the surpasses many others, her attention to detail, her willingness to try new things and her commitment to the highest quality photos and experience for all who have the honor of booking with her is unprecedented. Lessie has a soul that is so invested in producing authenticity that many photos seem to lack.
- EMILY + DANIEL
Lessie was awesome! We are so happy she was the one that captured our special day! She was so professional. She was great at communicating with us in a timely manner and was extremely flexible when we had to reschedule our endgame to pictures. And my husband and I absolutely loved our wedding pictures as well. Lessie was able to captures so many great memories that we get to treasure forever!
- YESENIA + ROBBIE
Lessie is the most compassionate, easy to communicate with , professional photographer I have ever had the joy of working with. Lessie has a skill set the surpasses many others, her attention to detail, her willingness to try new things and her commitment to the highest quality photos and experience for all who have the honor of booking with her is unprecedented.... My gosh I am so grateful we booked with her! Lessie has a soul that is so invested in producing authenticity that many photos seem to lack.
- EMILY + DANIEL
Lessie is an amazing photographer. We could not be happier with our wedding photos. I love that she included many unique shots that I wouldn't have thought of but that I really love. Also, along with the photos of my husband and me and photos of both sides of the bridal party, she captured many of the wonderful smaller moments and details that are hard to notice amidst the busy-ness of the wedding day. We loved seeing those smaller details and the candid photos of friends and family as well. They're all very special to us.
- ABBIE + TONY
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